Who are your clients? What do they do? Why do they do it? The answers to these seemingly simple questions will help determine whether you and the services you provide the best suit the needs of the potential client. They also determine whether the client, the client’s mission, and overall purpose fit your personal and professional standards and ethics. As you set off on your career in executive protection (EP), vetting clients will become an essential part of your long term success.
Vetting clients means you FULLY understand the client’s end goal and can maximize the administrative side of the job. It ensures you are within your ability to keep the client not only safe but productive as well. But how do you determine if a potential client is right for you? This can be particularly difficult if you are just starting out or have limited experience in this space. We are often so concerned with our own resume and our suitability for a job and so eager to just get after it that we fail to give due consideration to whether or not we should even be taking the job in the first place. Here are a few tips to help ensure a proper fit between you and your future clients:
Do your homework - Spend some time online researching the client, the company, and key stakeholders. Find out what the mission and vision are for the company and if publically traded, have a look at what the stock price has done over the past 5-10 years. This is good information to have walking into any interview but it’s particularly valuable when vetting a client for protection. You should have almost as many questions for the client during an interview as they have for you.
Establish Clarity - Clients often don’t know exactly what it is they’re looking for in a bodyguard or security team. That’s ok. Get them to give you some history of their previous experience with security and what they liked and disliked about them. From here, you can start to get an idea of their vision for your role in their organization. This is where honesty and discipline are key. Be honest about what you can actually do and have the discipline to politely decline if you are being asked to go beyond your scope. This can be especially difficult if you have financial motivation for taking the job. Understand that the wrong job may pay you now but will cost you in the long run.
Trust your instincts - You will likely know pretty quickly if a client or job is right for you. Your instincts will expand and sharpen over time of course but learn to trust your instincts will save you time and guide your decision-making process. Be particularly aware if a client seems overly eager or seems to be overpaying for what appears on the surface to be a simple job. Trust your gut, if you don’t respect a client or don’t have a good feeling about the job, politely thank them for the opportunity and move on.